Guess who won?
I’m sure I’m not giving anything away. Even if you haven’t seen what I think is the finale of Yumeiro Patissiere you know what the outcome is. But would they make it interesting? Well, sort of.
The show wastes no time getting to the action. We don’t even see Ichigo react to her burnt pie-thing; instead, it’s already there on the judges plates and Francois has smoked her, so to speak. Last week it was much like this—almost all action, too much to do, gotta keep moving. They don’t keep up that pace for the entire episode but it continues like this for the round of judging. And you know they would have to slow it down. Not all the action in this episode comes from the baking and judging. There are personal demons that must be overcome.
Last week the preview gave away what would happen. It would be another tie (Kashino kicks ass, Andou edges his opponent, Satsuki gets edged because he was unaware of prevailing macaroon tastes in Europe, a serious lapse for such a stylish boy), each team would pick a representative for a final throwdown, and Team Ichigo chooses … Ichigo. Now, in terms of plot this makes sense. It’s Ichigo’s show. Character-wise it’s problematic. Last week they had her do the pie batter because it was the easiest to do, and she screwed it up. Mind you, she screwed it up creatively, and the team appreciates her imagination and palate (as they tell her in the pep-talk scene, among other things), but we’ve seen Ichigo’s imagination create some horrible things in the past. Never mind. It’s decided. Now all she has to do is beat a world-class patissiere by making a strawberry tart better than grandma’s!
As usual, a member of Team Ichigo stumbles on unexpected ingredients and goes “Hmm …” in this case brown sugar and cornmeal, the latter falling onto the floor as if to announce its presence. Combine that with memories of the grumpy French patissier using rhubarb, those weird strawberries, and we’ve got a weird dessert. But even with these inspirations Ichigo is too nervous to cook effectively until another pep talk, this one from Tennouji in the stands, about being her own self, etc. What saves it from boredom is that Miya is trying to forcibly drag her off the stage while she says it, one of the few actual laughs in the episode. Things have been so serious up to now (you know it’s serious when the music uses the tympani and snare like it’s a slow march) that we needed it. The problem with finales like this, full of memories of past adventures, is that they often get too serious, and sadly, after the bit of levity, we return to it, Ichigo having flashbacks of her adventures up to now, her grandma, her friends … At least they do it while she’s cooking so they don’t take up too much time.
The judging is what you expected. Francois comes up with her famous something-or-other, which she’s made numerous times, and it goes over well. Then they taste Ichigo’s hastily-named “Sourire de l’Ange.”
Again, guess who won?
The point is made again that the opponent didn’t try anything new, and Ichigo did. We get the “Hey, how come I lost?” line from Francois just so the lecture can be made. Henri later says that there’s not enough innovation in the modern sweets world, which is why he gave Francois a 98 and Ichigo a 99. But this moral is nothing new in the YP world, even if the judges’ reaction to Ichigo’s tart suggests that she had discovered a new, sweets-oriented isotope.
So, the finale is not the best episode, it didn’t have the lightness that the best ones did, but it did tie everything together. Ichigo’s made the platonic ideal of a strawberry tart, her grandmother (talking through the credits) congratulates her. They try to explain away Henri’s heel-turn two episodes back, and fail. And we get some hand-holding between Ichigo and Kashino, which I’m sure the new series will develop. Then there’s even a preview, but it might be for the sequel, Yumeiro Patissiere Professional.
So why did I watch this show for young girls from start to finish? I recall I was getting tired of the klutz girl surrounded by fabulous cooks trying to make good and usually failing story, though it certainly wasn’t bad. I took a liking to Kashino right away. I think it was the surprise I had when Chocolat gets introduced. She immediately picked a fight with Vanilla! Fairy fight!
The other members of Team Ichigo had their moments, even dull Andou, it was nice watching goofy Ichigo toughen up and dedicate herself while remaining goofy, not to mention her innate kindness, and the righteous temper she too rarely showed. It was satisfying to watch the team slowly and naturally bond. But it was the weird edge these quirky, sometimes rebellious fairies had on many of the stories, and the fact that they looked cute but took their share of abuse as well (see episode 40 for the best example). Also, sometimes this show for young girls was not fit for young girls. Episode 34 is the perfect example of that. In short, Yumeiro Patissiere had a predictable (most of the time) storyline but could veer into absurdity any time it wanted to. And it was often quite funny. I was never quite sure what I was going to get every time I sat down to watch it. I can’t say that for most shows, even ones for adults.
Well done, everyone! It all looked delicious. Looking forward to the sequel.